Health Canada Bans Gay Organ Donors

January 9th, 2008

Gay Organ Donor

Got a relative in desperate need of a kidney or a lung? Are you a gay man? Well, tell your sick grandma to take a hike! According to new Health Canada regulations, your organs aren’t fit for her.

As of December, Health Canada has barred all sexually active gay men from donating organs—even if they’re in monogamous relationships or have been tested. A spokesperson for the government organisation cited a risk of HIV and hepatitis as the rationale for the ban.

You heard right. Apparently, the risk of having a gay man (as opposed to anyone else) lie about his health to donate an organ, somehow fool the disease-testing process, the family interview process, and infect a transplant patient is a far greater risk that leaving that patient on a long waiting list, desperate for short-supplied body parts.

Dr. Gary Levy, the head of Canada’s largest organ transplant center, is defying the new regulations:

We have not been informed, first of all, that Health Canada is considering this. Organ donation and the opportunity to save a life at a specific time—we have no substitute therapies.

Obviously if Health Canada wishes to discuss [banning donors], we would hope they would engage all stakeholders.

Approximately 4000 Canadians are currently waiting for an organ transplant. Levy predicts that out of the mere 100 donors each year at his hospital, seven donors will be rejected with these new regulations.

With the gay blood ban, and now this… Lives are at stake and healthy donors are being rejected. What is Health Canada thinking?

Thanks to Nick and Tiana for alerting me to this one!